December 7th, 2020
Greetings from Charlotte,
Responses to the semiannual letter advertising the DVD “Has the World Gone Mad?” are coming in at a strong pace. Mr. DeSimone passed along a couple of charts showing the dramatic uptick in responses in the German language. As I mentioned in this week’s video update, the numbers are small but the increase is dramatic, and we are looking at doing a much more dynamic work in Germany this coming year. We continue to have problems in parts of Central and South America in getting mail and magazines to subscribers and members. Please note that Internet scams have increased and have become dangers to be far more aware of. With so much commerce taking place online, scammers are becoming increasingly clever in duping people with official-looking emails. Some scams masquerade as UPS, FedEx, Amazon, or other well-known companies. They may give a fictitious tracking number to suck you in. If it involves a credit card, call the number on the back of your card rather than a phone number in an email.—Gerald Weston
Tomorrow’s World Presentations Ramping Up!
When the COVID-19 virus struck last spring, we put our Tomorrow’s World Presentations on hold. But good news! Over the last couple of months we have been making plans to re-start these events that are so crucial to giving new contacts a way to make connection with our local pastors and congregations. We now have several planned for January and February and will be working on more. Some will be totally online, while others will be in-person but limited in size, following necessary COVID protocols and restrictions. You can check out the list of upcoming TWPs on the Tomorrow’s World website. Your prayers for the success of these upcoming presentations would be much appreciated!
Charlotte and Kansas City Family Weekends Both to Be Rescheduled
We’ve been in regular contact this week with our Charlotte and Kansas City pastors, Messrs. John Strain and Rand Millich, about the planned family weekends scheduled to take place at the end of December. As we have been watching the trend of growing government restrictions on non-worship meetings, some difficult decisions have had to be made.
According to Mr. Strain, “We regret to announce that it is now necessary to cancel the family weekend planned for Charlotte that was scheduled for December 24–26. Current North Carolina statewide government regulations are too restrictive to allow for our planned activities and will affect access to area restaurants. This, as well as the current rate of COVID-19 infections, which is expected to increase in the weeks ahead, make this the prudent decision for the present time. We hope to reschedule this activity in the not-too-distant future.”
Kansas City is in a similar situation, according to Mr. Millich: “As local Health Department guidelines have gotten tighter and more complicated, the reality is that we will simply not be able to conduct the family weekend as planned. A different hall is currently being sought for regular Sabbath services, and it should be large enough to accommodate a few extra visitors. For those near the Kansas City area, the snow activity should be able to go on as planned. We plan to reschedule the Kansas City family weekend for a later date.”
Thank you to everyone who showed interest in the family weekends. We are certainly disappointed that we are unable to have them at this time, as initially planned, but we hope to reschedule for a future time.
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Seek God’s Guidance: In the world today, it is common to want to “do our own thing.” However, the Bible records the numerous and tragic results of this approach (Judges 21:25; Jeremiah 9:12–16). In the Scriptures, we are admonished, “Seek the Lord while He may be found” (Isiah 55:6). We are also told that God looks to those who are humble and teachable and “tremble at My word” (Isaiah 66:2). King David, a man after God’s own heart, modeled the attitude that God is looking for when he wrote, “Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes… Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:33, 105). Jesus emphasized this same theme when He instructed His disciples to “live by… every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus also taught, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). One of the important lessons of life is that if we desire to succeed in any endeavor, we must seek God’s guidance in the decisions that we make and be alert to what He shows us—because that leads to lasting rewards.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—December 3, 2020
End of American Space Dominance? Currently, America owns or operates around half of the known satellites in space (Gatestone Institute, November 2, 2020). So far this year, the United States has essentially kept up with China in terms of newly launched satellites. However, in March 2021, China plans to begin launching new satellites into space at a rate of about one every 14 days. The balance of space power could be shifting.
In addition to the number of satellites, there is also a shift in weaponizing space. America has intentionally deferred launching satellite-based weaponry, while China is placing lasers on satellites ostensibly for “destroying space junk”—lasers that could easily target other satellites. Should the U.S. lose key satellites, it could become “blind” when it comes to aviation and military operations. According to a number of observers, Russia and China are both ahead of the U.S. when it comes to offensive capabilities in space, and that is not likely to change.
God promised the descendants of Abraham (Israelite-descended nations) that they would possess the “gates” of their enemies (Genesis 24:60). That prophecy was fulfilled as Britain and the United States came into the possession of many land and sea gates of their enemies. Though America has long been the undisputed master of space, as with land and sea gates that the U.S. and the U.K. no longer control, America appears to be losing its supremacy in that domain as well. This is yet another sign of the coming demise of the Israelite-descended nations—because they have turned away from God—as their enemies gain the higher ground (Deuteronomy 28:43–47). For more insights on this topic, be sure to read “American Gates in Peril!”
Sleep and the Coronavirus: With COVID-19 cases on the rise again and the commencement of flu season in the Northern Hemisphere, what can we do to increase the likelihood of staying healthy? Scientists and medical professionals have long known that sleep benefits the immune system and reduces the likelihood one will get sick. In May of this year, Psychology Today reported, “A large body of research shows that when sleep is experimentally shortened by having volunteers restrict their sleep duration, the presence of inflammatory markers in their blood rises and numbers of T helper cells that secrete cytokines and natural killer cells decrease.” This means that if we do not get sufficient sleep, our immune system gets weaker and we cannot effectively fight off infection. The negative effect of sleep deprivation on the immune system has been observed with just one night of insufficient sleep. In one study, people who slept seven hours or less were three times more likely to contract a virus that causes colds than those who had eight or more hours of sleep. Some critics blame poor immune function on genetics alone. However, even in twin studies (in which two people who have the exact same genetics) where one twin is sleep-deprived and the other is not, sleep deprivation results in weaker immune systems.
In order to stay healthy and lower the risk of contracting Covid-19 or other infections, we must work to maintain a regular sleep cycle and get adequate amounts of rest. One of the ways to sleep well is to make sure we work hard and include physical activity throughout the day where we can. The Bible notes, “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet” (Ecclesiastes 5:12). Mental and physical labor give us a feeling of fulfillment, and they also tire us in a healthy way and improve our sleep. God also assures us that “He gives His beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2). To learn more about the benefits of sleep and how to improve yours, read “He Gives His Beloved Sleep.”—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater